Cancer can affect you physically and emotionally. This page covers some of the impacts of cancer that are common in men. 

Depression and mood changes

It’s normal to feel down or sad sometimes, especially if you have cancer. For most people the feeling of sadness goes away. But if you feel sad or in a low mood most of the time you may have depression.   

Read about emotions and cancer

Changes to your sex life

Cancer and its treatment can have a big impact on your sex life and relationships. It’s worth seeking help with any sexual problems.

Having cancer can change the way you feel about yourself. It can affect your emotions and feelings, and that can impact your sex life.

Erection problems and orgasm changes

Some men have difficultly getting, or maintaining, an erection after cancer treatment.

Prostate cancer treatment can affect the ability to orgasm or ejaculate. If the prostate is removed, you can still have an orgasm, but it is not possible to ejaculate. This is called a dry ejaculation or dry orgasm.

After radiotherapy, it’s common to not produce as much semen but still orgasm.  

Loss of sex drive

Changes to your libido or sex drive are common, even if you don’t have cancer.

If this is affecting your relationship it may help to talk to a counsellor.

Read about sex and cancer

Fertility and cancer treatment

For men, infertility means you are unable to get a woman pregnant. Chemotherapy, radiation treatment and some types of surgery can cause infertility.

Before starting Chemotherapy, you may want to talk to your doctor about freezing your sperm for future use.

Fertility in men - Macmillan Cancer Support (UK)

Urinary symptoms

Urinary incontinence is when you can’t fully control your bladder and leak urine. Incontinence is common after treatment for prostate cancer. It’s usually temporary and can be improved with Pelvic Floor Training.

Prostate Cancer and Bladder Leakage - Continence NZ website

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We know that going through cancer is tough and can raise many questions. You are not alone.

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Last updated: January 9, 2023